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Mission EUTM Somalia: the essential points (Update)

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(BRUSSELS2 / Updated February 3) The Council of the EU therefore approved, Monday January 25, the launch of the training mission
Somali soldiers (EUTRA), As announced on this blog. The concept of operation (CONOPS) and operation plan (OpPlan) must still be written (finally) and approved. But some elements are already known.

- Thegoal of the mission is to adequately train the military forces, to protect civilians in Somalia and to give greater coherence to a certain number of initiatives which have already been undertaken by several countries (France and Italy in particular). More specifically, according to the official terms of the decision, it is: “ contribute to defining a comprehensive and sustainable perspective for the development of the security sector in Somalia through the strengthening of the Somali security forces”. It's about a " military training » destined to « 2000 Somali recruits up to section level » (item 1).

- The mission will be military, will include 100 to 200 trainers and support staff, and will be deployed to Uganda. The generation of forces has not yet been triggered but with the French and Spanish offers (at least 30 men each) and those of certain other Member States (Finland, Hungary, etc.), the number could be reached without problem.

- Training by modules. Basic training will be provided by Ugandan forces. In particular, they will be the ones to provide the necessary interpreters. The Europeans providing more specialized modules, in particular: protection and guerrilla warfare in urban areas, mine clearance and action on IEDs, emergency relief and medical aid, training of officers and non-commissioned officers.

- The Headquarter will be located in Uganda, a liaison unit in Nairobi, and a support unit in Brussels. There will therefore be no
strictly speaking an OHQ and FHQ type structure, specific to military operations – we are getting closer here to a civil crisis management structure.

- The Head of Mission will be a Spaniard — Spain having accepted the role of Framework Nation: Colonel Gonzalez Elul, who already assumed the role of planning authority.

- The longer term, The mission is planned for one year, with two consecutive training periods of six months each. It will start in May 2010.

Comment: The challenge of this mission will not be so much logistical or military as educational and ethical
Training, in a few weeks, Somali soldiers used to fighting, but perhaps using "unorthodox" methods, and the majority of whom are illiterate, will not be an easy task, especially for trainers who do not really know all the Somali reality and culture. Ensuring that these soldiers, once back in Somalia, are treated and paid properly, also treat the civilian population properly and do not turn their arms against the Somali transitional government, is not the least of the challenges. But it is a necessity if we do not want Somalia to fall further into chaos and if we do not wish – as in Afghanistan – to commit ground troops for an indefinite period. It is also an indirect contribution to the fight against piracy, of which all those responsible have said that the battle " would not be won at sea but on land » and the hope that self-development
could one day replace the external food aid on which several million Somalis depend today.

Download Council Conclusions

(photo credit: Ministry of Defense Fr / Dicod – a French soldier with a Ugandan Amisom soldier – 2007)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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